“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”
Thumbing through several Cajun, Creole and Acadian recipes that I have just wasn’t enough I had to find yet another challenge for the week and the Shrimp and Tasso Henican from this months Saveur magazine looked so good that I couldn’t resist the photo on the cover and headed straight to the recipe, don’t expect that perfect shot on my page it was difficult to photograph as one night I sampled it as appetizer and the next was for dinner. Yet another rave from my local critic, Michael and now in the “hall of favorites” file.
The New Orleans article is fantastic and the pictures are to drool for, I immediately focused in on the Shrimp and Tasso Henican and now very glad that I did despite the work, but as usual if you have everything organized and ready isn’t so overwhelming. I made everything ahead of time so that all I had left to do was sauté the shrimp and plate.
There are several versions online to check out, but with this version you get a little something extra as in the seasonings and hints from the chef.
This recipe is the creation of the late Commander’s chef Jamie Shannon. Normally served as an appetizer, but makes for a great shrimp dinner with Creole or Emeril’s yellow rice.
Notes, substitutions or changes that I made, of course I didn’t have Tasso ham, but I did have a chunk of Newsom’s prosciutto style so I used that in place of Tasso. No pickled okra in the pantry, but I had frozen whole okra from last summer that worked nicely after I seasoned and grilled it, not the tangy pickled taste, but it worked plus the addition of pickled red onions was enough of a pickled taste for moi. Next time maybe I’ll grill the shrimp.
Tasso Shrimp Henican
Makes 8 servings
Pickled Red Onions
Place one thinly sliced red onion into a heat safe bowl and bring 1 cup of red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, and 3 cloves of peeled and smashed garlic to a boil. Pour over onions, cool and chill.
- 24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 ounce boneless Tasso, julienned in 1-inch strips (see recipe note)
- 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- Commander’s Seafood Seasoning, to taste (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc (recipe follows)
- 12 ounces Five-Pepper Jelly (recipe follows)
- 12 pieces pickled okra, cut in half top to bottom
Ingredients for Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc:
(makes 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup Crystal Hot Sauce (another hot sauce can be substituted)
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
6 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt, to taste
Ingredients for Five-Pepper Jelly:
(makes 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups cane vinegar (or white vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 each large red, yellow, and green bell pepper, seeded and membranes trimmed, finely diced
4 jalapeño peppers, finely diced (mine were really hot so I used 1)
*Ingredients for Creole Seafood Seasoning: Optional, use a good NOLA store-bought version
(makes 2 cups)
1/3 cup salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/3 cup paprika
3 tablespoons granulated onion
Make a 1/4-inch deep incision down the back of each shrimp where it has been deveined, and place one Tasso strip in each incision. Secure with a toothpick. Combine the all-purpose flour with Commander’s Seafood Seasoning, and lightly dust each piece of shrimp with the seasoned flour. Fry the shrimp in the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds on each side. Shrimp should be firm with a nice red-brown color. Remove shrimp and place on a paper towel for a few seconds to drain. Place shrimp in a bowl with Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc, toss to coat thoroughly, and remove the toothpicks. Place a portion of Five-Pepper Jelly on each of 8 appetizer plates, and arrange 3 shrimp on the plate alternating with 3 pieces of pickled okra.
Instructions for Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc:
Place the hot sauce, shallots, garlic and cream in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, simmer until reduced by half, stirring frequently. Slowly whip the softened butter, a bit at a time, into the pot, being careful not to let the sauce break. (The cream acts as a stabilizer.) Strain the sauce while warm. Add salt.
Instructions for Five-Pepper Jelly:
Put corn syrup, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small sauce pot, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce by 2/3, until mixture is thickened. It will get even thicker as it cools, but the peppers will thin it again when they are added. This is a gastrique. Briefly place the peppers in a hot skillet and sauté until tender and their color is brightened, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, add the peppers to the gastrique.
Instructions for Creole Seafood Seasoning:
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar. Keeps indefinitely.